The young shoots are a traditional early spring green. They should be
boiled in several changes of water. There are old farmers around here that
still gather it and bring it to market, and I've prepared and eaten it
several times. It was tasty, along the lines of asparagus.
HOWEVER, lately I've read that, along with sassafras and comfrey, new
research puts poke in the category of potentially toxic. And the mature
plant, and berries, are definitely not recommended.
I still think it's a very attractive plant, especially when the berries are
ripe, and when it's growing along the wayside. I weed it out of the garden,
but the habits of birds being what they are, there's always some around.
Zone 6, South-central PA
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